Japanese publisher Square Enix has delivered the promised Crystal Defenders game to the iPhone. Crystal Defenders [$7.99, Lite] is a tower defense game with a Final Fantasy theme.

Crystal Defenders is a defensive strategy game in which players deploy popular jobs from FINAL FANTASY Tactics A2, such as Black Mages and Soldiers, to fend off encroaching enemy hordes and prevent them from stealing their party's crystals.

Early forum adopters of the title, however, were appalled at the use of a large virtual control stick that takes up half of the screen.

Several of those who stuck with the title, though, were won over by the gameplay. Forum user h1976 captures the general sentiment:

First of all, that WTF button, ok the control works, but its lame, even if they want to do that, at least texture the thing, make it nicer not just a black pad with a giant blue orb.

It gives the game kinda an "indie" feel, feels like someone rips off the sprites of final fantasy tactics advance and pasted them in his own game, a pretty good game though I have to say. So my personal view, the gameplay is good, I love tower defense, so I'd give it a 10 personally. The level up system, the variety of the unit, good.

BUT I just cant get over the look and polish of the game

Fortunately, a free lite version is available to try that gives you the first 20 waves of one of the beginner's maps.

App Store Links: Crystal Defenders, $7.99, Crystal Defenders Lite, Free

  • darwiniandude

    I was waiting for this, and whilst I persist with many games that have less than ideal control setups because the game is worth it, (nicky boom for instance) this is horrible. I mean it's perfectly functional, and the gameplay is good, but tapping an on screen arrow key to move a tiny mouse pointer around isn't my idea of fun.

    Come on square enix, you can do better than this!

  • darwiniandude

    I was waiting for this, and whilst I persist with many games that have less than ideal control setups because the game is worth it, (nicky boom for instance) this is horrible. I mean it's perfectly functional, and the gameplay is good, but tapping an on screen arrow key to move a tiny mouse pointer around isn't my idea of fun.

    Come on square enix, you can do better than this!

  • Kuratsu

    Posted a quick review on the 11th page. Might be worth checking out. Honestly I love the game, the controls and screen "real estate" ruin the experience.

  • Kuratsu

    Posted a quick review on the 11th page. Might be worth checking out. Honestly I love the game, the controls and screen "real estate" ruin the experience.

  • mike

    traditional gaming powerhouses come up with dogshit like this, and people are saying the iPod/iPhone can't compete with the DS?

  • mike

    traditional gaming powerhouses come up with dogshit like this, and people are saying the iPod/iPhone can't compete with the DS?

  • TSP

    I really enjoy this one even though the obvious flaw with the control thingy. The feeling is better than in Fieldrunners, 7 cities or any other TD I have tried on the Iphone.

  • TSP

    I really enjoy this one even though the obvious flaw with the control thingy. The feeling is better than in Fieldrunners, 7 cities or any other TD I have tried on the Iphone.

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    Downloaded the lite version and beginning to like it. I like watching the battles. You can tilt horizontally for a better bigger view. Thinking of buying it but at $7.99, I think I'll wait till they drop the price to $0.99-1.99. The current control seems fun although, with the iPhone screen and touch control wouldn't that be better, dev?

    Just drop the price and start working on a 'real' iPhone/iTouch version plsss...:)

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    Downloaded the lite version and beginning to like it. I like watching the battles. You can tilt horizontally for a better bigger view. Thinking of buying it but at $7.99, I think I'll wait till they drop the price to $0.99-1.99. The current control seems fun although, with the iPhone screen and touch control wouldn't that be better, dev?

    Just drop the price and start working on a 'real' iPhone/iTouch version plsss...:)

  • bwtai

    It's a really fun game; great to see SquareEnix step in the iphone market. I downloaded it without trying the Lite version first. The only problem with the game is.... what's up with the lower half of the screen? would it be more reasonable to take the advantage of the touch screen by simply touching the map or icon instead?

  • bwtai

    It's a really fun game; great to see SquareEnix step in the iphone market. I downloaded it without trying the Lite version first. The only problem with the game is.... what's up with the lower half of the screen? would it be more reasonable to take the advantage of the touch screen by simply touching the map or icon instead?

  • http://www.twiddlegeek.com Tony

    It's obvious they put absolutely no resources into this. They simply reused their own sprites from the Tactics Advance series while putting almost no thought into the game.

    Really poor showing, much less than I'd expect from Square Enix. It's not like this is their first phone game, for Pete's sake.

  • http://www.twiddlegeek.com Tony

    It's obvious they put absolutely no resources into this. They simply reused their own sprites from the Tactics Advance series while putting almost no thought into the game.

    Really poor showing, much less than I'd expect from Square Enix. It's not like this is their first phone game, for Pete's sake.

  • http://omnigeno.blogspot.com OmniGeno

    I have download the Lite version, and I like it. Controls are clunky but easy enough to learn after a while. Its use of only half the screen is a little questionable, and I would think it would be easy for them to come up with a scheme not involving a virtual D-Pad.

    I know $8 is not a ton, but considering what else I can get for that price, I think I'll hold off on the full version. I can get Fieldrunners at $5 and something else at $3 and that may be a better deal, for now. I just hope they come to their senses and make better use of the screen real estate.

    I love Tap Defense, and Crystal Defenders seems to me a decently fun alternative

  • http://omnigeno.blogspot.com OmniGeno

    I have download the Lite version, and I like it. Controls are clunky but easy enough to learn after a while. Its use of only half the screen is a little questionable, and I would think it would be easy for them to come up with a scheme not involving a virtual D-Pad.

    I know $8 is not a ton, but considering what else I can get for that price, I think I'll hold off on the full version. I can get Fieldrunners at $5 and something else at $3 and that may be a better deal, for now. I just hope they come to their senses and make better use of the screen real estate.

    I love Tap Defense, and Crystal Defenders seems to me a decently fun alternative

  • John Smith

    Don't buy this game. The fact that they could not implement a touch-based interface instead of using a mouse-based pointer means they didn't even put half an effort into this.

    When they release a patch that gets rid of that and uses the entire screen, then we'll have something worth buying. Until then get Freerunners or 7 Cities, or whatever your favorite TD is.

  • John Smith

    Don't buy this game. The fact that they could not implement a touch-based interface instead of using a mouse-based pointer means they didn't even put half an effort into this.

    When they release a patch that gets rid of that and uses the entire screen, then we'll have something worth buying. Until then get Freerunners or 7 Cities, or whatever your favorite TD is.

  • james

    I wish they could do some sort of update to at least have the option to make the "controller" smaller, or better yet, non existent.

  • james

    I wish they could do some sort of update to at least have the option to make the "controller" smaller, or better yet, non existent.

  • j.h

    why not full screen @#$@!!??

    lazy port...........

  • j.h

    why not full screen @#$@!!??

    lazy port...........

  • wizard

    Another great iPhone showing by a major console developer. I hope they properly compensate the intern responsible for this game, as shading the massive control orb must have been tough. Here's hoping for a $9.99 King's Knight port.

  • wizard

    Another great iPhone showing by a major console developer. I hope they properly compensate the intern responsible for this game, as shading the massive control orb must have been tough. Here's hoping for a $9.99 King's Knight port.

  • LordLad

    I gave the Lite version a go. I had to be within licking distance of my screen to see, everything was just so small. The controls were less than intuitive. I wanted to see something more on the level of Dissidia or KH. 7 Cities impresses me much more and that's only $5.

  • LordLad

    I gave the Lite version a go. I had to be within licking distance of my screen to see, everything was just so small. The controls were less than intuitive. I wanted to see something more on the level of Dissidia or KH. 7 Cities impresses me much more and that's only $5.

  • Wulfsige

    I didn't have all that much trouble seeing the screen. Only downloaded Lite version, and don't plan on buying full version till they either make the screen bigger or the price is lowered. However the game play itself seem solid. The control system takes a little learning but it's workable.

  • Wulfsige

    I didn't have all that much trouble seeing the screen. Only downloaded Lite version, and don't plan on buying full version till they either make the screen bigger or the price is lowered. However the game play itself seem solid. The control system takes a little learning but it's workable.

  • Pixelfumes

    I was waiting for this game in eager anticipation and I was sorely disappointed. I think they did a near exact port of the cell-phone version of this game. If you watch the speed the sprites "walk in place" at you can see they are running, as if they had "fast" cast on them. It is almost like the game runs extra fast because of the more powerful processor. The controls suck plain and simple. I am a huge FF fan and I think Square might have just released this to test the market. Here's to hoping they actually do a proper port of this.

  • Pixelfumes

    I was waiting for this game in eager anticipation and I was sorely disappointed. I think they did a near exact port of the cell-phone version of this game. If you watch the speed the sprites "walk in place" at you can see they are running, as if they had "fast" cast on them. It is almost like the game runs extra fast because of the more powerful processor. The controls suck plain and simple. I am a huge FF fan and I think Square might have just released this to test the market. Here's to hoping they actually do a proper port of this.

  • http://www.badbumble.com BadBumble

    I’ve just downloaded the lite version of the game and to be honest, it plays really well, but it must have been a port as there’s no reason what so ever for the layout and control system. Don’t get me wrong, once you get use to the control system, it’s fine, but it definitely wasn’t designed with a touch screen in mind.
    I’m still going to buy the game of course (downloading it now), just because it is actually a nice game, just looks pretty ugly and I know it will come down in price over the next couple of weeks.

  • http://www.badbumble.com BadBumble

    I’ve just downloaded the lite version of the game and to be honest, it plays really well, but it must have been a port as there’s no reason what so ever for the layout and control system. Don’t get me wrong, once you get use to the control system, it’s fine, but it definitely wasn’t designed with a touch screen in mind.
    I’m still going to buy the game of course (downloading it now), just because it is actually a nice game, just looks pretty ugly and I know it will come down in price over the next couple of weeks.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Very disappointing from such a respected company. Amateurs have done better than this. The game itself is quite fun, but the controls!?! What were they thinking?

    If they put some more resources into this, it could be the best iPhone TD game. But I guess they just threw an intern at it and told them to port something in a week.

    Good first try, I guess. But I expected a hell of a lot more from Square.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Very disappointing from such a respected company. Amateurs have done better than this. The game itself is quite fun, but the controls!?! What were they thinking?

    If they put some more resources into this, it could be the best iPhone TD game. But I guess they just threw an intern at it and told them to port something in a week.

    Good first try, I guess. But I expected a hell of a lot more from Square.

  • Chris

    Well this is what Square enix is up to to make more money these days. Here in japan they just re-publish all their old titles on the DS/PSP with a little makeover. They are out to make money as quickly as possible without having to spend too much money..

    Countless titles have come out but with just cosmetic changes..Come on Enix put some effort into the titles for once

  • Chris

    Well this is what Square enix is up to to make more money these days. Here in japan they just re-publish all their old titles on the DS/PSP with a little makeover. They are out to make money as quickly as possible without having to spend too much money..

    Countless titles have come out but with just cosmetic changes..Come on Enix put some effort into the titles for once

  • Chinito77

    After playing the Lite version for so long, I took the plunge and bought the full game when version 2 came out. The game is much harder than lite and many times I kept wishing that money earned would carry over to the next map. Also, some sort of story or plot would be nice. Very addicting but could be better.

  • Chinito77

    After playing the Lite version for so long, I took the plunge and bought the full game when version 2 came out. The game is much harder than lite and many times I kept wishing that money earned would carry over to the next map. Also, some sort of story or plot would be nice. Very addicting but could be better.

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